Saved By The "M"

  • Friday, September 30, 2011
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26

    Jesus really unnerved the young leader. He arrived with his enviable moral record and his comfortable savings. He walked away still financially loaded but spiritually bankrupt.

    And behold, a man came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." He said to him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man said to him, "All these I have kept. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."--Matthew 19:16-26

    Of Spats and Splits: New Life In Corinth

  • Friday, September 16, 2011
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

    They had to hear it together…

    Once in a while your attention is arrested by something totally out of place or out of its time. It happened a couple of Sundays back as we walked into lunch. We both seemed to notice it at the same time…on both sides of the hallway there were pay phones! Little secluded privacy places with massive telephones hanging on the wall, phone books resting beneath the shelf (Remember phone books? Lots of pages with names, addresses and numbers all across the page and typically the page YOU needed had been torn out by someone!) with slots for coins to be dropped in order to make these antiques operational. Pay phones! Yup, right here in downtown Lincoln in 2011. We smiled, noticed them as being so out of place and walked on to our table carrying our Blackberry, iPhone and iPads. Amazing! Communication has certainly changed in a few short years!

    · Its own vocabulary, choppy thoughts, incomplete sentences, bullet concepts at best…without it, you can forget about connecting with the grandkids!

    · 140 characters including spaces. Boil that idea down to simple thoughts and summarize while sustaining the intrigue. Friends you don’t even know will follow your every thought!

    · Saves walking down the hallway to actually have a conversation. Can be long or short. But it lacks body language, facial expression and human connection. Best advice? Let that cursor flash! Write it…walk away…come back and read it…then, if you must, hit send!

    Bringing Focus Back

  • Tuesday, September 13, 2011

  • 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

    At some point in our lives we have all been the recipient of a letter. Whether it’s a birthday card or a multi-page document, we all know what it looks like. It starts with an informal greeting, a “how are things going?” or perhaps “the weather here has been nice”, but then as the letter continues, it starts to get more personal. The real emotions and intent begin to shine through.

    As we begin studying the book of 1 Corinthians, think of it as a letter because it is precisely that. Paul is addressing a serious issue that is rising up in the church at Corinth. As we take a look at the text, read it like a letter. Put yourself in a pew at the Corinthian church. As the letter is opened, you sit there in anticipation, anxious to hear what has been penned. This is a letter from Paul, the man responsible for perhaps your own conversion in Corinth. The letter is opened now, the speaker’s eyes begin to pan the writing. First a pause, then the voice begins to read, “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sothenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth...”

    Braggin' Rites

  • Thursday, September 8, 2011
  • Half right... and half wrong.

    Sweet words flow as the reader of the letter stands before a nervous but attentive gathering. Word has made its way around the community and there was almost 100% attendance at the hastily called meeting. A messenger from their spiritual father in the faith, Paul, had arrived and with him was a personal letter. Nerves were a bit on edge because it had become known that a few of their number (Chloe’s people, actually) had reported some less than flattering attitudes and behaviors among them. So those assembling were, for good cause, a bit anxious as they awaited the reading. But the letter was personal and it was the man who had loved them enough to bring them the good news that broke the bondage of their sin addictions. So, though they may have feared what he might have written, they also could not wait to hear what Paul had to say.

    The reader, having cleared his throat and waited for the noise to die, read, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge…” Sweet words flowed. Yes, Paul HAD heard and he complimented them. Eloquence of communication and exceptional insight into Scriptural matters was their claim to fame, their reputation. And the reader continued, “…You are not lacking any gift…” So true, they thought smugly. We are knocking it into the upper decks in our Christian activity. Fully loaded and lacking nothing!

    Lessons From Paul's Time In Corinth

  • Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    What would you do if your travels took you to Las Vegas, a city reported to be full of sin and sinful people? What would you say to the people living there? How would you support yourself? Where would you go to interact with the people there? How long would you linger?

    The city of Corinth in Greece was, according to reports, much like today’s Las Vegas in our country. Because Corinth was a city that saw lots of people just passing through in those days, as does Las Vegas today, it was full of opportunities to participate in many of the things which Scripture tells us to avoid. However, as we learned in Acts, the record of Paul’s travels, he didn’t run from the sinful people. We’re told Paul was in Corinth for over a year. And, because people on the move were often in need of the goods and services related to travel, Paul apparently had a good tent making business. We do know that there was a synagogue in Corinth and Paul often spent time there discussing Christ.

    The parable of the sower and the seed comes to mind when thinking of Corinth. It was a path well traveled and undoubtedly, the seed of the Gospel that Paul sowed was trampled under foot. There was seemingly little chance for the seed to sprout, let alone take root. Yet, we know that God used Paul’s efforts to establish a church in Corinth. It was a church that later would receive letters from Paul with guidance and reassurance.

    So, what lessons are there in Corinth that apply to us today? 

    Sacred Stirrings in Sin City

  • Friday, September 2, 2011
  • “Progress is simply taking a little ground, holding it, and taking a little more.” Sage counsel from my respected friend, Dennis. “Progress is…” 

    There was definitely gospel progress in Sin City. Just look around the auditorium during Sunday morning gathering.

    · That guy over there? Known all over the city as a “player”. Reputation as a “skirt-chaser” and was proud of it. But captured by the gospel!

    · These people right here? Always making sure they had all their bases covered. Genuflecting at every shine or altar, leaving gifts for all the gods, just in case… Today? Found peace through the gospel.

    · Those three couples over there had a “swinger’s club” going. No marriage was safe with those folks around! Today they have found love in the fidelity of Christ’s faithfulness through the gospel.

    · That guy always kept you guessing. Today you might see him dressed in fine masculine attire and then tomorrow, bump into him at the market and find he was carefully adorned in woman’s clothing. Now he is clothed in the robes of Christ’s righteousness…took off the old garments of sin and put on the wardrobe of the gospel.